Meg Whitman, former CEO of e-Bay, is pushing back hard against allegations that she knowingly hired an illegal immigrant as a household employee. Whitman, the GOP nominee for governor of California, is locked in a tight race with Jerry Brown, the state’s attorney general and one-time governor. And, like most GOP candidates, Whitman has run on a campaign of cracking down on illegal immigration.
“After nine years of faithful service, Nicky came to us in June 2009 and confessed that she was an illegal worker,” the statement reads. “Nicky had falsified the hiring documents and personal information she provided to the employment agency that brought her to us in 2000. Nicky told me that she was admitting her deception now because she was aware that her lie might come out during the campaign. Nicky said she was concerned about hurting my family and me.
“As required by law, once we learned she was an illegal worker, I immediately terminated Nicky’s employment. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I considered Nicky a friend and a part of our extended family.”
She was responding to allegations made by Nicky Diaz, who had once worked for Whitman as housekeeper, nanny and occasional driver. Watch Diaz’s press conference:
I thought Whitman made a very credible argument: She hired Diaz through an employment agency, and Diaz had given the agency documents showing she was a legal worker. The documents turned out to be falsified, but I don’t blame Whitman for that. Whitman later fired Santillan when she learned she was in the country illegally. So far, so good.
But Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez has some excellent questions about what Whitman did after that:
But wait a minute. The no-nonsense candidate who opposes a path to legal citizenship, and wants the government to go after businesses that hire illegal immigrants, didn’t feel the need to report the housekeeper to authorities when she confessed?
What did she think might happen? That the housekeeper would go back where she came from? That someone else would hire her not knowing she was illegal?
Or did she maybe think to herself, privately, of course, that the housekeeper was a decent person trying to live a better life in a country where wealthy people like Whitman are all too happy to hire them, and not terribly inclined to probe their backgrounds?
What did the Whitmans pay the housekeeper, by the way?
If Whitman is as determined to curb illegal immigration as she claims in her gubernatorial campaign, you’d think she would have called immigration authorities immediately to arrange for Diaz’s deportation.